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Christian living, Family life

Someone Has to Die

Heart-shaped cloud

(Photo credit: aivas14)

A couple years ago I was driving the girls to the store and my seven-year-old saw a man with a prosthetic leg. She stared for a while then said, “Dad, can they give someone a new brain?”

I can think of lots of people who could use a new brain but not for medical reasons. “No,” I said. “They can give new knees, hips, livers, eyes, kidneys, hearts, all kinds of stuff, but not brains. Not yet anyway.”

She thought for a while, then said, “Where does the new heart come from?”

“From someone else.”

“But I thought you need your heart to live?”

I saw where this conversation was going and that it was about to go from lighthearted to heavy lifting. “You do. When someone dies they can take their heart and give it to someone else who needs a new one.”

She was quiet again, staring out the window, watching the other traffic whiz by. Finally, she said, “What about babies? Can they get a new heart?”

“Sure they can. It’s really tiny, too.”

I glanced at her in the rearview mirror and saw such sadness in her eyes as she put the two together. “So the other baby has to die?”

I explained how sometimes babies die naturally, there’s nothing we can do about it no matter how hard we try to save them. It’s very sad, but yes when they die they take the baby’s heart and give it to another baby who is very sick and needs a new heart.

Again, the wheels turned. I could see them grinding out a deep and contemplative thought. “So,” she paused, her eyes going back and forth as they tracked the moving buildings outside the car’s window. “Someone has to die so someone else can live.”

It hit me right in the chest, those powerful words of wisdom coming out of my daughter’s mouth. I couldn’t help it, I smiled. “Yes. Exactly.”

And then I explained how Jesus had to die so we might live and give us a “new heart.” She already knew all this, of course, but it was such a powerful teaching moment I couldn’t let it go by without some reinforcement. I’m not sure up until then that she fully grasped the concept of Jesus’ sacrifice and our benefit from it.

Someone had to die so we could live and Jesus stepped forward (as he was the only one who could), raised his hand, and said, I’ll do it.

Think about that today.

(I invite you to check out my other blog,, for similar posts as this).


About michaelkingbooks

I write stories of faith and family, love and loss, heartache and triumph. Here I blog about faith, relationships, and genuine living.


8 thoughts on “Someone Has to Die

  1. Wow, Mike. This is so powerful. I have tears in my eyes.

    Posted by Elizabeth | June 14, 2012, 7:07 am
  2. It’s good for us all to contemplate it again. Thanks for sharing this, Michael. It blessed my morning.

    Posted by anemulligan | June 14, 2012, 8:23 am
  3. “become like a little child” indeed. You have a very intelligent little girl there. May God be with you both.

    Posted by Mary | June 14, 2012, 8:55 am
  4. How blessed you are to be able to have that conversation with your daughter. I was crying as I read it.

    Posted by Terri Conrad | June 14, 2012, 9:49 am
  5. Today I was translating in Mark 9. Jesus takes a child in his arms and presents him/her to the disciples, who had been arguing about who was greatest and basically just not getting it, and He tells them they need to give up on being first and become as a child: unassuming, open, teachable, and pretty powerless in the grand scheme of things. Conversations like you had with your daughter are such a clear demonstration of what and why Jesus taught his disciples, then and now, to be as children. They get the simple truths in power-full ways. God help us all to get there.

    Posted by goldenprayerbear | June 14, 2012, 11:23 pm
  6. And today, with a child’s open mind, she walks away with a wisdom and understanding that many sadly will not have. From one who truly submitted himself too late to impress upon my own children as you have done, I read this with both joy and sorrow. It’s a much harder concept to get across to teenagers and this breathes new life into Matt 19:14. I’m so happy for you that you got and understood the moment.

    Posted by John | June 18, 2012, 9:17 pm

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